Tea Party

by Allison Begalman
An invitation for a national tea party, hosted by a group of angry Americans searching to limit the power of the national government, did not receive many acceptances when extended in 2009. However, the attendance list has recently grown, the affair now has a name, the Tea Party Movement, and the issue has become a matter of concern for all sensible Americans.
Tea Partiers believe in the Constitution as originally penned by the founders. Since the movement consists of small interest groups and is not an official political party, no single official website exists. According to theteaparty.net, the party’s “grassroots” mission includes advancing “the principles of limited government, fiscal restraint and individual liberty through promotion and education.” In simpler terms, the majority of political power should return to the states and the federal government should act only within Constitutional limits.
The Tea Party’s right-wing platform is against controversial issues such as gay marriage and abortion. The Chicago Tribune reported that Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry, presidential candidates backed by the movement, signed a federal constitutional amendment that was against gay marriage.
Tea Partiers tend to want government involvement only when it conveniently mirrors their beliefs. If the Tea Party’s candidates were elected, social programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security would be toast, along with federally funded public education. We would all kiss our expensive future college degrees goodbye because most of us would not be able to afford them without some type of federal financial-assistance program, student loan or Pell Grant.
Tea Partiers have supported potential leaders who struggle with basic American history. “Two of the notable figures backing the Tea Party are Sarah Palin and Bachmann—obviously the most brilliant minds churned out in the 21st Century. Wait, no they aren’t. They make no sense,” said sophomore Austin Kwinta. Bachmann has sucessfully launched a Tea Party caucus in Congress. She and fellow GOP candidates Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are all backed by Tea Partiers for the coming election. Degrees of fervor may vary among Tea Party supporters, but ages and gender do not. In 2010, CBS reported that 18 percent of Americans considered themselves Tea Party supporters; white men comprise 89 percent of this total.
Recently, CNN released a poll revealing that 49 percent of Republicans identify with the Tea Party’s beliefs, not to confuse the Tea Party with the Republican Party. However, a 51-percent majority of Republicans are unassociated with the movement, and others actively oppose it. “As a Republican, I hate the Tea Party. They’re making us all look ridiculous and are giving conservatives a bad name,” said senior Dominika Blach.
Our nation is suffering because of this turn in American politics. “[Tea Partiers] have effectively divided Republicans into different groups with different vices,” said junior Joe Klimas.
Like it or not, the movement is rapidly growing, even among young people: Tea Party youth movements have formed on several college campuses.
As educated students, we have the opportunity to make a difference. Those of age should vote in the 2012 Republican primary, and those who cannot vote should at least stay informed.
“When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, [Tea Partiers] don’t have a clue,” said Kwinta. They’re dumping our tea and it’s essential that we retrieve it. Then, we should dump them.